. Writing Funding Bids
. Developing Relationships With Funders
. Funding Exercise
WRITING FUNDING BIDS
Introduction What Is The
Organisations approach funding in many Funding Required For?
different ways but the reason for it remains It may sound obvious but it is crucial to
the same. For many projects the pressure remain aware that the majority of bids for
to keep generating income for survival funding are intended only to assist in the
is immense and can mean that funding piloting, start-up or development of projects
applications are made on a reactive rather and not to provide a permanent revenue
than strategic basis. source, regardless of how good or needed
the project actually is.
It needs to be recognised from the
beginning that funding is a tool that will (Sustainability meaning to keep in
enable an organisation to achieve things existence or maintain). Sustainability is a
that may otherwise not be possible. key word in any funders vocabulary and it
However as with any other tool funding is therefore vital to consider right from the
needs to be applied correctly if it is to start how the project will support itself
be of any benefit. financially after the initial funding period.
If an organisation does not have a
Chasing funding indiscriminately is poor sufficiently specific sustainability plan
practice and can result in an organisation and can not show how it will survive after
straying from their objectives in order to the lifetime of the funding, then the
obtain income and in some cases distorting likelihood is that the application will
and deskilling the organisation in be refused.
The sustainability plan has to be measurable
It is evident that people who write and achievable and should ideally link to the
successful bids are clear about what the business planning process carried out by the
project is for, how it will be delivered and organisation and any partners in the project.
what the result will be for stakeholders Simply referring to plans by the steering
(stakeholder meaning a group or an group to identify ways to make the project
individual who has an interest in or is sustainable throughout the lifetime of the
affected by the proposed project). project is insufficient.
Relying on one route to project Sources of finance and funding for social
sustainability can be problematic and ideally enterprises include:
the funding application should identify a . Trading income
number of ways to continue the project that
. Retained profits
the funder is ’pump priming’. (Pump prime
meaning to encourage the growth or action . Bank, community development finance
of something i.e. assisting the start of institutions and other loans
the project). . Member share purchase
The plan for sustainability needs to . Voluntary investment by members
be linked to the key milestones of the . Grants
project including time indicators and
should clearly state who is responsible
for deciding the best way forward and
how it will be achieved. Social enterprises may qualify for
grants in the same way as other types
The term ’exit strategy’ is often used in this of business. In addition social enterprises
context however in real terms exit strategy in disadvantaged communities, or which
means a plan of what will happen at the end address social exclusion, may qualify for
of a project and how it will be wound down. start-up and capital grants. However it is
important to remember that to rely on
The language used in a funding bid needs to grant funding alone is dangerous and can
be clear and incorporate what the project result in a project running only for the
will do, who will do it, what will be different lifetime of the funding provided.
because of these actions and how the
changes/benefits that have taken place can
be demonstrated in terms of achievement. Getting Started
When a clear view of what the project is When deciding whether to seek funding for
seeking to achieve has been decided upon, a project the organisation should consider
potential funders can be sought. Being clear some basic questions such as:
about what is trying to be achieved makes
. Identified and able to clearly demonstrate
it easier to search for funders.
the need for the project?
. Gathered information/research material
to prove the need?
. Considered whether the project should
have partners to help share the workload?
. Decided who within the organisation can
drive the project forward and can they
show that they are capable of running
the project and have enough free time
to spend doing so?
Funding Searches Local Council For Voluntary
Services/County For Voluntary Council
The next step is to draw up a list of potential
funders. To do this, you will need to do some A Council For Voluntary Service (CVS), or
research. For example: the Welsh equivalent County For Voluntary
. Research potential funders; Council (CVC), is a voluntary organisation,
which is set up, owned and run by local
. Choose funders whose criteria the groups to support, promote and develop
project fits; local voluntary and community action.
. Make contact before you prepare your CVS/CVC’s support their members by
application to ensure your project fits providing them with a range of services and
the funders’ criteria; by acting as a voice for the local voluntary
and community sector. The local CVS/CVC
. Find out the funders’ timetables or
will have access to local funding initiatives.
timescales for reply; To find the nearest CVS contact
. State clearly where you hope to find www.nacvs.org.uk and in Wales
all the funding. www.wcva.org.uk
There are a number of options to look Lottery
at when searching for funding to get the The lottery has a number of funding
project started including: programmes that assist social enterprises.
The following site provides information on
Local Government how to get Lottery funding, the latest news
It is always a good idea to approach local on the organisations that distribute Lottery
government to see if there are any funds money, and case studies on projects that
available to assist local social enterprises. the Lottery has funded in the past.
Charitable Trusts and Foundations
A considerable proportion of funding is now
distributed at a regional level. Information Some charitable trusts or foundations
can be obtained from the DTI and the provide finance for social enterprises, the
relevant Regional Development Agency following websites assist organisations in
www.dti.gov.uk/regions/index.htm finding grant funding - Directory Of Social
Change www.dsc.org and Funding
Central Government Funding Information www.fundinginformation.org
For England the website Examples of trusts that have supported
www.governmentfunding.org.uk is social enterprises in the past are Esmee
dedicated to giving the voluntary and Fairbairn Trust www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk
community sectors access to grants from the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust and
various central government departments. UnLtd - The Foundation For Social
For Wales, the contact is The Welsh Entrepreneurs www.unltd.org.uk
Loan Finance The following questions may help with
A variety of loan finance options are
available to social enterprises from banks . Is the finance plan clear and explicit?
and building societies to community . If the funder has asked for specific
development finance institutions (CDFI’s).
outcomes, has the bid demonstrated
Below are some helpful links on this topic:
how they will be addressed?
. Is the language used unambiguous?
www.ncvo-vol.org.uk . Is the bid interesting?
. Has evidence of the organisations
effectiveness that underpins the proposal
been brought out in the application?
All funders publish guidelines that detail
what they will and will not support and
Acronyms should be avoided unless they
also offer assistance in submitting an
are clarified the first time that they are used.
application with regard to the information
Technical jargon and obscure professional
that organisations need to provide.
language should also be avoided as this
masks the meaning of what the bid is
Guidance information should be read
actually trying to say.
carefully, read again and read some more!
Projects that are dreamt up to fit the
It is a good idea to get a colleague or
priorities of the funder are obvious and are
external partner to read the application to
less likely to succeed. It is crucial to check
check for spelling/grammatical errors and
the objectives and funding criteria to ensure
also to logic check it. One of the problems
that the project will fit. If there is any doubt
with writing bids is that the writer can be
then a call made to the funder will result in
too close to it and although may have clear
establishing this. Some funders are happy
vision as to the project and its aims, forget
to take telephone enquiries and others may
to include key information.
request a project brief prior to accepting
Writing The Application An application should have clear structure.
The following can be used as a guide but
This is where the case is made for
always follow the specific guidance provided
financial support and it must be made well.
by the funder.
Remember there is vast competition for
support so ensure that the application is . Project title
well written and clear, fits the funders . Introduction - who the organisation is
criteria, is within any deadline date, that
. Proposal summary
all of the questions have been answered
and any requested supporting information . The problem or need and who will benefit
such as business plans or accounts have from the project
. What the project aims to achieve
. How it will be achieved . If the Trust or funder has a website, check
. How results will be monitored it out before making the application
. How much money is needed; and . If possible and unless the funder stresses
otherwise, type up the application form it
. How much money will be raised from the
is far neater
organisation and/or other funding sources
. Choose any requested referees carefully
Always remember to include in-kind support. . Make sure referees have a copy of
For example, if you are being given the hire the proposal
of a venue for free, have volunteers working . If an assessor calls to make an
for the project or staff seconded from
appointment, make sure that there
another organisation then spell out that
is plenty of time, and peace to speak
cost-saving - this helps to demonstrate that
your application represents value for money.
. Letters of support from relevant
When putting together your application, prominent people may be useful
always remember: . Don’t hassle the funders
. Project Need : What? Where? When? . Try and raise some money locally as a
Aims and Objectives? ’community contribution to the project’
. Beneficiaries : Why? For whom? . Don’t give up. If in doubt, ask the funder
Scale of demand and local support? for help
. Management : Who will manage the
project? What track record do they have?
. Budget : How much will it cost to set
up and run? How much money will
be raised locally?
. Match Funding : From whom does the
organisation expect to get the other
funding? What assumptions have been
made in the calculations?
. Monitoring : How will the projects success
be measured and what targets will be set?
Is the application being made to an appropriate funder?
Does the project fit into the funders priorities and criteria?
Is the amount being sought in line with the funder’s normal range of grants?
Is the timing right? What is the deadline and when is the money needed by?
Is the application addressed to the right person at the most recent address?
Has the project an appropriate title?
Is the application easy to read with no jargon or abbreviations?
Is it the right length? Does the application say clearly who the organisation
is and what it does?
Is a contact name, address, telephone and email included?
Has the project proposal been spelt out clearly - what the money is for and
why it is needed?
Has this been backed up with facts and figures to prove need?
Does the application include how the money will be used and who will benefit?
Does the application show other funding to be included as match and has
in-kind funding been taken into account?
Has a detailed sustainability plan been included to show how the project will
continue after the funding has ceased?
Do all the figures add up?
Have all costs been included and are they realistic?
Does the project represent ’value for money’?
Have monitoring and evaluation procedures been included?
Has the supporting information been included e.g. accounts/business plan?
Has a copy of the bid been taken for the organisation records?
The best policy for dealing with funders is to treat them as the
organisation would treat a client.
Some funders like to be sent ongoing Always keep funders fully informed as
information or to be invited to things to to the progression of projects that they
things - openings, celebrations. Others have funded. And always keep a copy of
prefer a more arms-length relationship. everything that is sent out to potential
Developing relationships with those funders or actual funders.
that are happy to be involved is important
for the organisation and the project. Give Think too about responding (especially to
funders the opportunity to do more than trusts and businesses) which turn down an
simply purchase a product - engage them. application for funding. If funding comes
People fund people and that funding from elsewhere consider writing, saying
becomes more sustainable when the two that the organisation understands why
are in the relationship, not simply sitting they chose not to fund the project on
at opposite ends of a funding application. that occasion but thought they might be
interested in how things have developed
since and flag up forthcoming plans for
their interest. Even a rejection can be the
opening of a longer term relationship.
The WLP Trust - Wrexham Women's Aid
General Grants Programme The only major appeal from Wales this
time, for £12,000 a year for three years for
Your trust covers all of the UK and is for
a part time worker to encourage mothers
’general charitable purposes’ though you
to return to work. It’s a new project and
specialise in heritage. However, you keep
they’ve approached six other trusts of
£50,00 a quarter for a general grant
which, one has agreed to put in £5,000
programme under which applications of
all kinds can be considered on their merits.
£5,000 is given in your guidelines as
The Music Machine
the minimum individual grant and the
maximum is the full £50,000. It is the They commission new music to be
quarterly trustees meeting and you have performed by entire communities. Last
been working all morning on the main year they had over 4,000 singers in
grants. You now have between 30 and 45 Stafford rehearse and sing a four hour
minutes remaining to decide the general epic. This year they have enthused 8,000
grants. Unfortunately your Clerk, Brigadier citizens of Portsmouth but need another
Rainsbury has rung in sick. He has previously £10,000 to add to existing sponsorship
circulated the attached list of applications from local companies. The money will
that he has checked out and considers to pay the composer and run the show.
be good for their kind. You must now make
the decisions. Craven College, Fulham
An inner city project to help people
York Cathedral Appeal
who have left school early to go back
No amount specified. Appeal target £5 to studying. They want £15,000 a year
million. The main cathedral appeal this year. for an outreach worker.
Members of the public have donated a total
of £520,000 a year (excluding tax) and Parents Choice
hope to raise a further £100,00 from Gift
Last year we gave them £5,000 for a
training scheme for school governors. From
information received, the project went well
and this year they have asked for another
Big appeal to pay the reversed charges for £5,000 to develop a financial skills course
desperate children (It is a telephone line to for governors.
help abused children). They want £10,000
from us to pay for the service in the ten
most disadvantaged wards in Liverpool.
Harris Homes All of the above are eligible for support
under our rules.
Want £120,000 to buy another house to
become a home for adult mentally disabled
The case study applications should promote
people in Bolton. They run 15 similar houses
a debate around who should be funded.
all models of their kind. They have not
There is no right or wrong solution to
approached us previously, no other
this exercise as it is purely on individual
interpretation and choice. However there
has to be a decision reached and it will get
Age Concern Oldham
the group working together and coming up
£12,000 to employ a professional negotiator
with a way of reaching the final decision.
to win contracts from the local authority to
provide accommodation for elderly people
The exercise shows just how difficult it is
in the area.
to be in the shoes of the funder and the
competition for funds. To even reach this
Humberside Wildlife Trust
selection stage a bid has to be well written
Require £50,000 to buy a wood threatened
and clear and of interest to the panel.
by a Tesco development. Wood seems to be
unremarkable environmentally but is well
used by county’s population.
Fifth Ear Project
Teaches severely dyslexic children up to the
age of 18 to sight-read music, using it as an
unthreatening opportunity for the children
to learn skills very close to normal reading.
They want £5,000 for an independent
evaluation to verify their apparently striking
Evesham Respite Care
They used trained volunteers to let the
carers of older people with dementia have
a break. On tapered funding (starting with
£13,000 this year) they want £25,000 to
develop financial independence through a
direct-mail donor base.
Experts at saving stranded whales, dolphins,
horses in canals etc. They are all volunteers
and only want £2,500 for VHF radio kit so
they can talk to coast guards and the like.